Burnt-Out Blues

In my last post, I talked about serving, and I touched on the topic of being burnt out.

What is this syndrome that many Christians seem to have?

It’s when you help with every service, Bible study, club, group, and church event and become so tired of helping all the time that you stop helping all together.

Serving is all in moderation.

To be honest, I don’t know about your church, because it could be perfect (note the sarcasm), but in most churches, there are always needs. There’s always something that needs to be done. Is this bad? No. But the needs of the church need to be taken care of, and one person shouldn’t take care of them all.

Someone needs to be in the nursery, someone needs to deliver a meal, someone needs to take care of the trash after church, someone needs to refill the coffee pot, and someone needs to teach the new Sunday school class.

There are always going to be needs.

So why shouldn’t you help out every time?

Because you aren’t the body; you’re a part of the body.

First Corinthians 12:14-27 says (and don’t be intimidated by the long passage):

For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more present-able, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.  And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

The church is not a one-man show, with Super Man (or Super Woman) stepping in to meet all the church’s needs. Because Super Man will get tired and frustrated and cranky very, very fast.

You do play a part in the body of Christ—but that’s all it should be. One part. Not all the parts. One.

We’re in this together. This Christian life is hard; and we weren’t meant to handle it alone.

I’m probably not guilty of picking too many groups to help with and becoming burnt out. It’s hard for me to get out of myself and help with one group, let alone six. But I’ve known people here and there who seem to be helping with everything.

It’s great to see a heart working for the Lord and the furtherance of His kingdom. That’s amazing, and I know those hearts will be rewarded.

But when those people who have served in everything start coming to church less and less…and then almost not at all…it saddens me. They were serving their Lord wholeheartedly, and they become so discouraged and tired that they don’t even come to church on Sunday morning.

Because we are a body, we all need to be helping so that no one has the chance to get burned out.

In an ideal world, as soon as I finished writing this post, I would jump up, drive to church, and start signing up for stuff on clipboards.

But this isn’t an ideal world (in case you hadn’t figured that out yet); and I’m not feeling the urge to go anywhere.

And this is the problem. There are a lot of people who haven’t even touched a broom in the church. They don’t even know where the cleaning closet is. These people make us angry and irritated and feel like we have to do everything because no one else can do it but us. Because we’re so noble and have such a servant’s heart.

Put down the broom. You need to feel called to serve, not roped into it. You shouldn’t necessarily do something because no one else is volunteering. Wait, pray about it, and consider your current church activities. If no one signs up, and if God is calling you to the opportunity, then sign up. But don’t be impulsive. There’s no need for that.

It’s not worth getting burned out and never stepping inside a church again.

We all need to do our part. I don’t know where the dividing line is with each of us doing his or her “fair” share. All I know is that you’re in the church you’re in for a reason. You can have a big impact or a small impact, but you shouldn’t be the only impact.

Being burnt out isn’t worth it.


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